Challenges of Packaging With Smaller Bottles
Packaging in small amounts can create some unique challenges for companies, mostly surrounding the filling of the bottle, vial or other small container. Solutions for small packages may include tabletop and semi-automatic machinery for facilities with lower production demand, while using both inline or monoblock packaging systems for automatic production, all depending on the specific project.
Maintaining stability of the containers through the entire packaging process is one of the biggest challenges of packaging in small containers. Unlike many bigger bottles, small containers such as vials and tubes, may not have flat bottoms. A rounded or non-flat bottom can cause containers to rock, vibrate or even just tip when moving down a conveyor. With both semi-automatic and inline automatic equipment, this issue may be solved by using a puck to hold the small container as it moves through the packaging line. The flat bottom pucks allow for more stability and efficient movement without much more modification to the equipment. Monoblock systems may also use a starwheel to hold smaller containers in place. This type of solutions allows the bottles to move around the starwheel, stopping in place for a rinse, fill, cap or other packaging task.
Of course, when it comes to filling small bottles, small amounts of liquid are necessary. At times, certain types of fill principles can be difficult to use on smaller bottles. For instance, an overflow filler, which fills to a level, may not be efficient or even possible for certain projects, simply because of the very small amount of liquid necessary to fill the bottle. The diameter of bottle openings may require special nozzles, or at least smaller nozzles, than would be used on typical filling projects. For volumetric accuracy, piston and pump fillers may often be used when filling ounces or a fraction of an ounce.
As with any packaging project, the best equipment for use with small containers will be determined by analyzing all of the components of a given project. By looking at the container, the product, the amount being filled and a number of other factors, LPS can help a packaging find the best solution for efficiently and effectively preparing product for the consumer.